Windsor-based Black Diamond Robotics earns spot at FIRST Tech Challenge Houston World Championship | MyWindsorNow.com

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Windsor-based Black Diamond Robotics earns spot at FIRST Tech Challenge Houston World Championship

Seeking sponsors

Windsor-based robotics club Black Diamond Robotics wants to find more sponsors to help keep the team of middle and high school students competitive.

The team won first place in the Colorado FIRST Tech Challenge championship earlier this year, beating 59 other Colorado teams to earn the title.

Last weekend the team to managed to climb the ranks to the second highest position in their competition group at the FTC West Super-Regional Championship in Tacoma, Wash.

Next the team will compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge Houston World Championship.

The team has to build a new robot for each competition, and that costs between $1,000 and $2,000, said Aubrey Schmerge, 17, a junior at Windsor High School.

If a team manages to advance past the state competition, those costs can more than double and sometimes triple, with travel and lodging expenses required for out-of-state competitions.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor of the team or finding other ways to help can call team coach Tom Schmerge at (970) 672-3983.

Windsor-based Black Diamond Robotics will head to Houston, Texas, to compete April 19-22 in the FIRST Tech Challenge Houston World Championship.

This past weekend, the team — comprised of four high school and one middle school student — and their robot managed to climb the ranks to the second-highest position in their competition group of about 30 teams at the FTC West Super-Regional Championship in Tacoma, Wash.

In doing so, they secured an invitation to the world-level competition next month.

With their recent success, the team won't have too much time to rest and recover, practice and improve their design. Before the team heads to the world championship, they need keep working to figure out how they can prepare their robot for its next match, said team coach Tom Schmerge.

For the competitive season, students must engineer, design and create a robot to solve that year's challenge. This year, robots had to be capable of picking up plastic balls of the correct color, launching the balls into a goal a few feet off the ground and moving a yoga ball.

Before the super-regional competition, the team practiced and worked to refine the design of their robot. The work paid off, and aside from replacing one part that cracked, coach Tom Schmerge Schmerge said he could not remember the team needing to touch their robot with a wrench at all.

Black Diamond Robotics also managed to practice and improve the team's piloting skills before the super regional competition.

"That made a big difference," he said.

Aubrey Schmerge, a junior at Windsor High School, is the robot's pilot and does much of the team's fabrication work.

The team isn't affiliated with a school; it operates out of a combination robotics lab, fabrication studio and practice arena set up in the Schmerges' garage in south Windsor.

Joshua Rohrbaugh, a sophomore at Liberty Common High School in Fort Collins, takes the lead on most of the robot's hardware needs. His brother, David Rohrbaugh, a senior at Liberty Common, is the team's software specialist.

Brecken and Kayden Housden — a freshman at Windsor High and seventh-grader at Windsor Middle School, respectively — round out the team and help with a little bit of everything.